From today students at UEA are now able to opt-in to a mental health initiative allowing the University to inform a person of the student’s choice about significant concerns over a student’s welfare via e:Vision.

In a statement the University said: “The opt-in contact scheme is another way in which the University has implemented a proactive, university-wide approach to student wellbeing.”

It is one of 16 mental health initiatives announced by the University in December last year. The initatives were created by the Vice-Chancellor’s mental health taskforce force, which was set up following campus-wide concern over mental health issues following four deaths in ten months at UEA. This concern included a mental health campaign by this newspaper that called for the initiative launched today.

The University statement added: “UEA recognises that our students are independent adults and that they have the right to privacy whilst studying and living at university. However, it is becoming clear that many students would like their parents or family members involved when it comes to their mental health – last year’s Student Academic Experience Survey showed that 66% of students would want their University to contact their parents about a mental health issue in extreme cases.

“This scheme allows you to give the University consent to contact a person of your choice – parent, family member, or friend – in situations that aren’t emergencies, but where there may be serious concerns about your welfare or physical/mental health. It’s completely optional, and you can change your mind about opting in to the scheme at any point. One of the key elements around this scheme is consent – we know that circumstances can change, so the University will still ask your permission before getting in touch with your designated contact to make sure you’re comfortable with your situation being shared with the contact you’ve chosen. 

“The person you nominate to be your contact for the opt-in scheme can be the same as the emergency contact you’ve already provided to the University, or it can be someone different. We’d recommend that if you want to pick someone that isn’t already your emergency contact that you ask their permission first and that they’re happy for the University to have their contact details.”

Dr Jon Sharp, Director of Student Services, said: “We’ve been listening to students and know that this is something they’ve been keen for us to implement, so we’re very pleased that we’ve been able to introduce this opt-in contact scheme – particularly in these difficult and unprecedented times. This is the latest in a series of initiatives that we’ve brought in over the last year or so, including Residential Life Managers providing 24/7 support to students in UEA accommodation and Embedded Wellbeing and Student Life Advisers in every faculty. Feedback we’ve had from other universities wanting to explore what we’re already doing reflects our sector leading approach to initiatives around mental health and wellbeing.”

How to opt in:

  • Open the ‘Personal Details’ tab in e:Vision and you’ll see an option for ‘Emergency Contact’.
  • You’ll then be given the option to provide the University with an emergency contact if you wish:
  • If you choose ‘Yes’, you’ll be able to enter your designated emergency contact’s details (all details are compulsory apart from ‘Alternative telephone’):
  • If you decide to opt-out of the scheme at any point, simply follow the instructions above but choose ‘No’ on the Emergency Contact Form screen – this will remove you from the opt-in scheme and remove your emergency contact’s details.

You can contact student services by calling 01603 592761 or emailing studentsupport@uea.ac.uk. A full list of support services available can be found here.

Alternatively you can contact Samaritans on 116 123 24-hours a day or email jo@samaritans.org


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